Coll. by M.C. Parler William Eden
and Max Hunter Monte Ne, Ark.
January 11, 1960
Reel 324, Item 3
MCP:Did your uncle sing you any other songs you learned from him?
WE: I don't remember if I learnt any more from him.
MCP: Did your mother sing?
WE: Mother? Not much.
MCP: And your father?
WE: Not either one of em much. And I always was around — you can ask people that know me , Nina here, ray daughter-in-law, she’ll tell you that she’s heard folks ask me if I sung like I used to did. I used to, I’d always go a-whistlin’ or a-hummin’ along, tryin’ to sing.
MCP: Who’d you learn those cowboy songs from, that you sang for Maxine?
WE: Well, I learnt one of em from a boy by the name of Press Adams. And I don’t know who I learned the others from.
MCP: Which one of them did you learn from Press Adams?
WE: Which one did I learn from Press?...I can't remember the parties that I learned the songs from.
MCP: How ’bout singing that "California Joe” for Max Hunter”?
You've all heard tell of Bridges,
I used to run with Jim,
A many a hard day’s scouting I’ve done long side of him.
And once near old Fort Reno,
A trapper used to dwell;
They called him old Dad Rannells,
The scouts all knew him well.
One night, the spring of Fifty,
I tell you, let me see,
I think it was in Fifty,
From that till Sixty-three.
moreReel 324, Item 3, Cont’d
We tied our horses quickly,
And wading up the stream,
And there among the willows I heard an awful scream.
And there besides the water A little girl did lie;
I picked her up and kissed her,
Saying, I’ll save you or I’ll die.
Poor Papa, God will take him To Mama up above;
I’ve no one left to cheer me Or no one left to love.
This little girl was thirteen And I were twenty-two,
Says, I will be your father,
And love you just as true.
She nestled to my bosom,
Her hazel eyes so bright|Looked up and made me happy Though close pursued that night.
WE: Well, now then, there was twenty-six verses in that and I’ve forgotten a lot of em. But on the last — I’ll tell you on the last of it — but later on the girl’s uncle come to claim her — her daddy’s brother — he said. And he tuck her away, and California Joe went with em a mile or so, and he said, ”I give-” -- her name was Mag — ”I give her a banknote and all I had in gold.” And turned and rode away like the wind. Said, ”Mag, we’ll meet again.” Then six year after that he met her again, never knew nothing of Mag nor nothin’ till he met her one night — he’d moved his camps, and her uncle went on, and he didn’t know where they was at, nor nothing ’bout that. And one morning he was out and he said things was still ** ever’thing was still, he could hear nothing but the cooing of a dove. And then he heard a boat- gunnel rattle — a paddle hit the boat-gunnel, you know, and rattle — and he said a boat landed right close to him. And he said that when the boat landed he stood still, and the boat landed he’d started out to his traps a-lookin’ around — and the boat landed across on the side of the stream he was on. Why, he said, out jumped somebody and grabbed their gun and seen him and throwed the gun to their shoulder. And in it he said
If to you it’s just the same,
Take down your little rifle,
For I am not your game.
Your long hair and your buckskins Look warrior-like and rough.
My bead was spoilt by sunshine Or I’d a killed you sure enough.
moreReel 324, Item 3, Cont’d 2
She throwed her gun to shoot him, you know, she thought he was an Indian. He told her just the same to take down her little rifle fer he was not her game. She knew him then.
Then he asked of her uncle and she said her uncle was layin’ on the bed dyin’ you might say, you know, just couldn’t get well. And she said, r,He often speaks of you, Joe,” And Joe and her went to him, and he went in and when he went in, why, she went to his bed, and he said — he raged out in one of his fits that he’d have — spells he’d have — he said, ’’It’s a lie, it’s a lie.” and she says, ’’What, Uncle?” And he says, ”I dreamed that California Joe was here.” And s he told him it was true, it wasn’t a lie, for California Joe is here. He was there by her side.And he called for Joe, and Joe walked up and talked to him and he told him, he says,
’’I’m gointa die,” said,”I’m dyin’.” And he says, ’’I’ll give you Mag. Take her for your wife.” And they put him away, and California Joe tuck her to his home, and that was the
last of it. And he told em, he says,’’When you come to see us
or pass by, I’ll speak to you,”he said,’’You’ll find nobody ther but Mag my wife and I.”
Hit’s twenty-six verses long! I learned that but I for-
got part of it. I learned that from a girl. Her name was
Phillips, Tildy Phillips. She once lived here, come from missouri, and once lived here when we was school-chaps. We went to school together some, and then she came back when she was about young woman, and I had growed up too — we was about the same age pretty much — and she visited with our folks (her folks didn't come back, she come on a visit back to this part of the country)
MCP Did she that was a true story in that song?
WE: Yes Mah’m. Oh yes. Yes, that’s a true story. That’s Cali- fornia Joe’s life... .That’s what it had — twenty-six verses. And I learned it by heart, and so — then afterwards — oh,
I guess I was forty-five or fifty year old, I heared a feller sing that. He was a blind man, and that was his way of makin’ his livin’ you know. Used to, we didn’t have the pensions for em, did we? And he’d sing, and people would give him, and he was pretty good on the guitar and banjo, he could pick and sung. He sung that song. And he had the ballets of them, and I gave him a quarter for the ballet. And it might be that my daughter had got it in California, I don’t know.
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